Japanese Finance Minister Says Blockchain or DLT May be Useful for COVID-19 related Contact Tracing

Taro Aso, the Japanese Finance Minister, has reportedly said that blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) could potentially help with combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Aso believes that DLT-powered solutions may be used for contact tracing while ensuring the privacy of user data.

Aso, whose comments came during the Blockchain Global Governance Conference (also called the FIN/SUM Blockchain and Business summit) on August 24, 2020 in Tokyo, remarked:

“In the battle against widespread infectious diseases, blockchain provides one solution for contact tracing.”

There are currently around 24 million reported COVID-19 cases and over 800,000 confirmed deaths from the virus, globally. There are about 60,000 active cases in Japan.

Like many or most other credible health officials or experts, Aso also believes that the threat from the deadly virus has not subsided. He thinks that blockchain or DLT-enabled solutions can ensure privacy for people who may test positive via contact tracing methods.

Blockchain-enabled solutions may also provide more reliable or accurate (tamper-proof) data that can help officials with gaining a better understanding of what should be done to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Aso also mentioned that any conflict or confusion about how DLT-based software may be used for contact tracing should be addressed by the nation’s government or regulatory agencies.  Aso added that some blockchain developers or supporters might feel that regulators in Japan might not be willing to use blockchain-based software, because they still may not understand how the technology works.

He recommended:

“What we need is to work together and collaborate to consider the best use of the technology under the best governance.”

South Korea’s ICONLOOP, a major blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT)-focused firm, recently revealed that Jeju Island, the nation’s most popular local tourist destination, will be using its Decentralized Identity (‘DID’) blockchain tech to offer private, secure COVID-19 contact tracing to (approximately) 15 million people who visit the island each year.

As mentioned in a release shared with Crowdfund Insider:

“ICONLOOP and the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province have signed a cooperation agreement to introduce this innovative COVID-19 and infectious disease prevention system. Visitors will use a mobile app to check into tourist destinations and businesses on Jeju Island, with their data kept private unless a COVID-19 case is discovered.”

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